About Isaac’s Buddies
Isaac’s Buddies was created in celebration of Isaac, who was adopted from Ukraine in 2020 at the age of 10. Isaac went from being a bedridden, malnourished, withdrawn, contracted little boy to being a happy, thriving, cherished son, brother, grandson, friend, and student. Bringing him home had such an impact on us that we felt the need to do something for other adoptive families, and for the children who are still waiting. While every single child deserves the safety, comfort, stability and love of a family forever, we will be focusing specifically on children who are the absolute least likely to find homes and the families who step forward to adopt them. Statistically, the children who are most unlikely to be adopted are those with very profound needs, with multiple disabilities, children who have become bedridden, children over the age of 7, and children who happen to be boys. Not every child we feature or every family we want to help will fall into each of those categories, but they will fall into at least some of them.
Isaac was born in Ukraine and was left in the hospital after his birth due to his disabilities. His special needs include microcephaly, spastic quadriplegia, blindness, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and profound delays in all areas of development. After a couple months in the hospital, he was placed into an orphanage, and at the age of 6 he was transferred to a mixed age mental institution for children and adults. Once he was transferred, all therapy services for him were cut off and he was left in a room full of children who remained in their beds 100% of the time. Institutions are very often considered end of life care in an orphans world. This institution has been offered much help, but refuses to accept volunteers for the children. Most of the children there are heavily medicated, significantly underfed, and receive little to no stimulation. Isaac weighed just 28 pounds when he came home. Adoption was and is the only solution.
Isaac had been legally available for adoption since infancy and had been listed for adoption on American websites since 2013, yet he was passed over time and time again. As he got older, his chances of being adopted continued to decline. His family never intended to adopt a child with significant disabilities, a child who was older, a child older than their first child, or a child who would be considered complex in any way. One day, when scrolling through the Reece’s Rainbow Facebook page, very shortly after beginning the process to adopt their daughter, Rachel saw an advocacy post about Isaac, and that changed everything. Advocacy works! Thankfully, Ukraine allows adoptions of unrelated children, so Isaac and Lily came home together in October of 2020 and are both thriving.
Isaac now enjoys car rides, listening to music, birds, and windchimes, being tickled, and having his family around him. He loves when his siblings act loud and crazy, and he loves snuggles and massages. Isaac attends school in a multiple disabilities support classroom and he has made friends there. Everyone who meets Isaac says how sweet he is, and we all know that he is a brave and strong little boy who continues to show the world how amazing he is.
Fun fact! 5 of our first 25 buddies are from the same institution as Isaac, and 2 of them spent years as his roommates. Can you spot them?
About our team
Donna came up with the idea of starting this ministry. She’s a mom of 5, including 2 sons she adopted at the ages of 5 and 10 from China. She has much experience as a special needs parent and advocate. She loves spending time with her 9 grandchildren including Isaac, and 4 dogs. She enjoys camping, reading, and gardening.
Danny is our creative director. He built our website and handles all tech and design aspects for Isaac’s Buddies. He’s the father to 6 kids including Isaac. Danny enjoys fishing, coding, gaming, and travel.
Rachel is our co-founder and social media person. She’s the mom of 6 littles, Isaac included. She loves nature, travel, Disney, and family outings.